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Topper - Once A Punk Always A Punk

  by John Clarkson

published: 17 / 12 / 2001



Topper - Once A Punk Always A Punk
Label: MVG
Format: CD

intro

It has been fifteen years since The Clash broke up, and almost twenty since the songwriting partnership of vocalist Joe Strummer and guitarist Mick Jones came to an acrimonous end with Strummer ejecti


It has been fifteen years since The Clash broke up, and almost twenty since the songwriting partnership of vocalist Joe Strummer and guitarist Mick Jones came to an acrimonous end with Strummer ejecting Jones from the band in 1983 shortly after it had released its 'Combat Rock' album . In the time since then both long term and new fans have been concilated with a steady flow of new Clash releases and reissues. There have been two singles retrospectives ; a B sides and a rarities collection 'Super Black Market Clash', and a three CD box set 'The Clash on Broadway'. Strummer and Jones, their differences long since patched up and resolved, also got briefly back together with bassist Paul Simonon in 1999 to compile together 'From Here to Eternity', a CD of some of their best live recordings, Now, with the stream of Clash releases at least for now having dried up, there is Topper. The group, which features in its line-up four thirty something punk fans and which takes its name in homage to The Clash's fourth member drummer Nicky 'Topper' Headon, first formed in Stockholm in 1998 and have recently toured Europe, supporting Stiff Little Fingers and playing songs in a self-confessed Clash style. 'Once a Punk Always a Punk', their debut single, comes from a seven track mini album of the same name and recently went Top Twenty in the band's native Sweden. The title track is simply splendid , and is an anthemic rallying cry to all those who grew up in punk in the seventies and who never quite got over the experience (this writer included !). It never takes itself quite seriously enough to risk becoming pompous or over sentimental, but wth rattling drum effects ; a stuttering guitar line ; raw, enthusiastic vocals and a chanted chorus all thrown into its mix, brings back a flood of late seventies Clash memories and in particular of the single 'Tommy Gun', which it name checks. "You say we're too old for another day" sings vocalist J.H., laughing at himself as much as the younger generation. "You think it all started with Green Day." The second track, ''Take the Skinheads and the HomeBoys Bowling' , is less effective. Resurrecting memories of the seventies battles between punks and skinheads, it seems dated, something which The Clash even now, despite their much heralded politicization, oddly rarely are. With tongue again partially embedded in cheek, it once more, however, strikes a balance between humour and nostalgia. Not quite better than the real thing then, but not really meant to be and a strong second alternative. Great fun !



Track Listing:-
1 Once A Punk Always A Punk
2 Take The Skinheads & The Homeboys Dowling



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